When I was young, “making a spectacle of yourself” was discouraged. That was a very long time ago:
It’s difficult to understand the sheer rapidity of the culture’s shift toward supporting same-sex marriage without considering the intensification of the spectacular character of society—with the rise of social media and its amplification of the power of entertainment media.
A great deal of our political life and energy has migrated from concrete contexts to the realm of spectacle, in which politics becomes a continual management of our personal brand for our own and others’ consumption.
The result is a superficial and insubstantial—albeit highly animated—politics, preoccupied with symbolic battles, manufactured spectacles, and competitive self-branding (in electing a reality TV star to the presidency, Americans elected a man with experience).
* * * * *
Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.
(David Foster Wallace via Jason Segedy, Why I’m Leaving Twitter Behind.)
By modernity, I mean the project to create social orders that would make it possible for each person living in such orders “to have no story except the story they choose when they have no story.”
Stanley Hauerwas, Wilderness Wanderings